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FMA Opens Consultation On Standard Conditions For Full Licensing For Financial Advice

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has opened consultation on the proposed full licence standard conditions for Financial Advice Providers, as part of the new financial advice regime.

The FMA is considering eight standard conditions for full licences: record keeping, internal complaints process, regulatory returns, outsourcing, professional indemnity insurance, business continuity and technology systems, ongoing capability, and notification of material changes.

The process for full licensing will be more comprehensive than for transitional licenses — the FMA will consider whether applicants and authorised bodies are capable of effectively performing the financial advice service.

The FMA has also proposed to specify three different classes of financial advice provider licenses to streamline licence applications and assessment criteria. This means applicants can apply for the licence that best suits their circumstances, whether they are a sole practitioner, engage multiple advisers or authorised bodies, or a business that has nominated representatives.

John Botica, FMA Director of Market Engagement, said: “We’re pleased to open this consultation as it will give financial advisers further clarity on their obligations under the new regime.

“Our proposal to specify three classes of financial advice recognises the diversity of business structures in the industry and will allow advisers to apply for the class that’s most appropriate for them.”

Mr Botica said the three classes — along with the tailored questions and assessments based on the complexity of the Financial Advice Provider structure — will ensure the application process is straight forward, particularly for small advice businesses.

The consultation is open until Friday, 7 August. The FMA will start accepting full licence applications when the new legislation takes effect, which is anticipated to be no earlier than March 2021. Once a specific date is known this will be communicated.

Meanwhile, the FMA continues to process and grant applications for transitional licenses, which have now passed 800 in total. They include an estimated 5,800 financial advisers – representing well over half the current number of authorised and registered financial advisers in New Zealand.

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